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How does a Pump know its Empty?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Life During Wartime, May 28, 2013.

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  1. Life During Wartime

    Life During Wartime Member

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    Hi,
    I'm new to the world of shotgunning and I was wondering, how does a pump action shotgun "know" when it is empty. Testing out shotguns in gun stores is a bit of a pain because (obviously being unloaded) you have to hold the pump release for every time you want to test the pump. I find this annoying but I know there is a good reason for it. What I am interested in is how.
     
  2. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    No you don't, you can just pull the trigger to release the slide

    The pump doesn't 'know' anything, the operator SHOULD
     
  3. Life During Wartime

    Life During Wartime Member

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    Really, did not know the trigger could do that! It makes me now wonder why is there a pump release at all then?

    and you are right the operater should always know, but what I mean is IF you were to put a round in the tube, you could rack the slide imediately (from what I understand) but if the tube is empty, somehow the gun blocks you from racking without some other manipulation such as the release lever or trigger.
     
  4. BADUNAME2

    BADUNAME2 Member

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    Right, the trigger releases the action. Some models, the recoil of the shot helps, too. With a Winchester 1897, for example, in live fire you can just hold rearward pressure on the fore end, and it will unlock and open as soon as it fires. In dry fire, however, you must first push the fore end forward to let the action unlock, before it can cycle. I think modern pumps are similar in that respect, but haven't played with one in a while, so could be mistaken.

    Sent from my C771 using Tapatalk 2
     
  5. kudu
    • Contributing Member

    kudu Moderator Staff Member

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    The trigger has to be dropped to release the pump mechanism. The release by the trigger is so you can open the chamber without firing or dropping the hammer.
     
  6. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Oooooo, ooooo, I know the answer! It goes "CLICK" instead of "BANG". :D
     
  7. Mitlov

    Mitlov Member

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    Repeated dry-firing is not good for the firing pin. That's why you don't want to pull the trigger to release the slide. That's why the slide release exists.

    Not quite. The gun has no idea whether it's empty. The gun DOES know whether the last thing that happened was the pump-action sliding or the trigger pulling. Modern shotguns are designed so that you can't pump twice in a row without some sort of manual override, since doing so would spit an unfired shell out onto the ground. The last thing that's happened when you're reloading an empty gun is the pump-action sliding (ejecting the last hull). Thus, after reloading your magazine, you will always need to use the slide release to put the first round into the chamber...because you've now operated the slide twice without pulling the trigger (once to eject the last hull and one to put the first of the new shells into the chamber).

    In a gun shop, it's almost certain that the last thing that happened to the gun was someone sliding the action. If the last thing that happened was someone dry-firing the gun, then you wouldn't need to hold the slide release to pump it.
     
  8. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    So you can get the round out of the chamber without shooting the gun
    And no you can't just put a round in the tube and rack the slide, you have to use the slide release to chamber a round. The only time the action is not locked closed is when you pull the trigger.
     
  9. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    The action release is there so the gun can be operated i.e. forearm moved back and forth.

    Second, the action release allows you to unload/remove a unfired shell from the chamber with out pulling the trigger.
     
  10. sawdeanz

    sawdeanz Member

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    I think the op is wondering whether a shotgun has a magazine follower mechanizm like the last shot hold open on a semi auto pistol. Now I am curious too
     
  11. Mitlov

    Mitlov Member

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    The chamber is not held open after the last shot in a pump-action shotgun. You can close the action just like you would if there was another round in the gun. Intead, whether it's loaded or unloaded, you can't operate the pump-action more than once without either (1) pulling the trigger between the pumps, or (2) pressing the slide release when you pump the second time. The behavior is exactly the same whether it's loaded or unloaded. So it's a very different mechanism than a pistol uses after the last shot.
     
  12. jfurlong

    jfurlong Member

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    When it stops going "BANG " and starts going "click "
     
  13. Life During Wartime

    Life During Wartime Member

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    Thanks guys! I understand now! :)

    Here's another question:
    If You were to dry fire a pump action, and then press the slide release ( which I now know is not needed) and rack the slide, could the pump seize on itself and get stuck? I did this because I didn't know any better and it took some "encouragement" to get the pump unstuck.
     
  14. Mitlov

    Mitlov Member

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    That shouldn't happen. At least, I've never run into that on my Browning BPS by holding down the slide release when it isn't needed.

    What make and model did this to you?
     
  15. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    On my pump shotgun the bolt release is tripped when the hammer is in the forward (fired) position.

    Why there's a slide latch requiring release:
    (a) You don't want the shotgun to fire with the bolt unlocked, so the latch holds the slide closed, with the bolt in the locked position, until the hammer hits the release.
    (b) Walking about in the woods, with a round chambered, you don't want the bolt and slide to be able to move and eject the unfired shell unintentionally.

    A bolt hold open when the magazine is empty, for some reason, has not been considered a notable feature in a shotgun. I suppose because pump shotguns were developed for hunting and hunting is not like combat: you usually can keep track of how many rounds you have fired.

    With a last shot hold open, you would have to press a release to close the action because all pumps I know about require you to close the action to load the magazine. If one action release is confusing, imagine having two.
     
  16. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    With most doubles, and many older guns this is true. With most modern guns it will take an awful lot of dry fires to do any damage. In fact I'm of the opinion that a firing pin on most guns will break at exactly the same round count whether they are dry fired or live fired.

    I've been dry firing just about every gun I've ever owned for well over 40 years. Never broken anything, never owned a snap cap.
     
  17. Mitlov

    Mitlov Member

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    Now that you mention it, the guy who told me he broke a firing pin through repeated dry-fires had an over-under. I did some quick googling and it does appear that there's no harm in dry-firing a pump-action; in fact, it's common practice for the military and police to do so in various contexts.
     
  18. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    That would be an error in thinking.

    Most modern shotguns offer no firing pin protection when dry fired, and will break much sooner then when fired. Or else break the retaining pin that has to stop the foreword travel instead of a live primer.

    I've never seen a modern pump-gun break a firing pin when firing.

    But I have fixed a lot of broken ones that broke when dry-fired over the last 50 years.


    rc
     
  19. Life During Wartime

    Life During Wartime Member

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    @mitlov

    It was a RIA M5
     
  20. Mitlov

    Mitlov Member

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    Pump shotguns have been used in combat since their invention. The Winchester 1897 was used extensively in the Philippine-American War, WWI, and WWII. The Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500 also have extensive military history.

    Bolt-action rifles also don't have a bolt-hold-open, yet they were used in WWI and WWII as infantry rifles and continue on to the present day with some models of sniper rifles. You don't need the bolt to hold open for a weapon to be appropriate for military use.
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Au Contraire!

    All Mauser's, Springfield's, etc. did have a last round bolt hold-open.

    The square back edge of the magazine follower makes it impossible to close the bolt on an empty magazine, unless you manually hold the follower down out of the way of the bolt with a finger.

    Modern bolt-action sporting rifles have a taper on the rear of the follower to allow bolt closing on an empty magazine.

    About all military bolt-actions of yore did not.

    rc
     
  22. Mitlov

    Mitlov Member

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    I stand corrected; thanks for the info.
     
  23. Sergei Mosin

    Sergei Mosin Member

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    Mausers, Springfields, and the M1917 were set up that way, but I can't think of any others that were. I know that Lee-Enfields and Mosin-Nagants were not. In the Enfield the follower is contained within the detachable box magazine and in the Mosin the follower does not rise high enough to block the bolt.

    The blocking follower in those rifles makes it difficult to perform some elements of drill with them; the common solution was to stick a penny in the action to hold the follower down so you could close the bolt smartly!
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  24. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Maybe I shouldn't have said 'most'.

    And most French army rifles didn't have safety's either.

    rc
     
  25. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    When a rifle is never loaded or fired, why have a safety?

    (yeah its a joke, don't anybody go getting upset)
     
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